Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I am not a team player

It's not that I'm an uncooperative human being.

I do fine on team projects, but I've always hated team sportsy things. Also, I am not zen. But that comes later.

Some of this has to do with being an introvert. And being self-conscious about not knowing what you're doing. And I never, ever knew what I was doing team sports-wise.

My lack of hand-eye (or foot-eye) coordination also figures largely into it. As a kid, I haaaated kickball. And when someone passed the soccer or basket ball to me, I always fucked up. It was embarrassing and painful.

In high school, I got very into running and lifting weights. I loved both - still do. They're good alone activities - you do them on your own schedule, and in your own head.

Works perfectly for me.

Along the same lines, I've typically shied away from classes. In college I'd go with friends to these aerobics classes, and I'd always be stepping the wrong direction, or going forward when I was supposed to be going back. It was always a relief when we'd get to the floor work part.

The last class I ever went to - years ago, at the behest of a friend who was very into step aerobics - was at a gym right on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda.

I was trying my hardest to keep up with the step, step, kick, twist, blah blah blah. And then the instructor said, "Now grapevine towards Wisconsin!"

And I was all, "Step...Grapevine? Wisconsin!? Which fucking direction is the Midwest from here?"

That was the last damn class I ever went to.

What I am leading up to is this. I am about the only human I know in the DC metropolitan area who has never been to a yoga class. All my friends - women and men alike - extol its virtues.

And yesterday, so many of you recommended yoga poses. I tried a couple back stretches last night, and they totally helped. Thank you!

And today, the osteopath - who said that my sore back is likely a result of everything stretching and shifting to accommodate the baby, and coming out in the weak point of an old injury, rather than anything serious, - stretched me out, and said that prenatal yoga would be a good idea.

(Sidebar update: Today is sooo much better. Nick forced me to ice my back twice last night. It was chilly misery at the time, but helped tremendously. And the doctor today said that icing was exactly right. Tonight, heat. Also, the body pillow Tej gave me was kind of like magic.)

Anyway, back to yoga.

I've just always been intimidated by it. I picture classes full of lithe people in adorable (and adorably spendy) lululemon yoga outfits who totally know what they are doing AND are all zen.

And I'll be in my grubby workout togs doing the downward dog towards Wisconsin when everyone else is doing something I can't pronounce in the other direction.

Plus, they'll be all centered, and I'll be thinking, "Crap, my underwear is creeping up my butt and I wonder what we should have for dinner and that woman over there has as really cute haircut I wonder what salon she goes to and why the fuck fuck fuck can I not quiet my mind???"

In other words, I have some mental gearing-up to do.


  1. i'm not zen either... i can never get a handle on that idea.

    and i hope once that instructor said that you just turned around and walked right out as everyone else grapevined toward wisconsin because that's what that phrase deserved

    good luck in pre-natal yoga (i can't wait to do pre-natal pilates some day!!)

  2. I know exactly what you're feeling (sans pregnant belly)b/c that's how I felt about yoga. It stressed me out when I tried a few classes in the past, but after a recent break up, I decided to give it another go and it was definitely worth it! It's hard to quiet your mind from noticing things at first, but it will come with practice. Now I really go more for my head than for my body (even though my body is digging the results).

    Don't worry about how you look (easier said than done, I know), but seriously, most people will have thier eyes closed and they'll be focused on themselves and their breathing.

    Also, yoga is one of the few classes where you're ENCOURAGED to go at your own pace. I think a class just for preggers will emphasize that even more.

    Lastly, what really made me a convert was my teacher. If you don't like the first one try, go find a new one. I promise it's worth it!

    Sorry for the novel - but I really believe it's the best habit I've picked up in the last 3 years! Good luck, Darling, and keep us posted!

  3. I love yoga, but STILL can't quiet my mind.

    I've also fallen over while trying more difficult poses and, to be honest, I constantly worry about being *that* girl, who farts mid downward dog.

    But, all that said, I keep going back because one of best and most relaxing exercises that I've come across.

    Good luck! Hope you like it!

  4. I'm one of the most hulking people in the yoga class I go to (ie - I have the fattest ass and everyone knows it and sees it, particularly in downward dog.) But I still go. And I love it.

    And that whole "quiet your mind thing" - sorry, I never could and I don't even try anymore. I treat it as exercise. Because that's what it is, damnit! My heartrate gets higher, my muscles get sore. Quite your mind, my hulking ass!

  5. I'm not sure I should tell you this, seeing as you ARE going to yoga and you probably don't need another reason NOT to go. But I did yoga once. And farted out my vagina (I know there's a cutesy name for farting out your vagina but let's not go there. It was a fart. Out of my vagina.) In a room full of strangers. And I just couldn't get over it. So that was the end of my yoga career.

  6. notsojenny - I would like to be, I really would. I just...don't seem to manage.

    And I didn't. I was corrected by the enormous man next to me who didn't look like an aerobecizer but who did everything perfectly. And then I fled at the end.

    prettylittletangents - THIS is exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you! You made me feel so much better!

    Liebchen - Oh, I got all twitchy when you mentioned the worry about being the one who farts...but then I realized that in a room full of pregnat woman, we'd all be *that* girl. Phew!

    Peace Turkey - "Quite your mind, my hulking ass!" - I LOVE this!

    Hillary - AGH! and HAHAHAHAHA, but better you than me. Yes, I hate the cutesy name word as well. And agh! Totally understandable end to a yoga career.

  7. I prefer the Yoga on DVD version which can be done from the comfort of my own living room. You could try a beginner DVD at home then go to a class once you're more comfortable? Glad your back is better today!

  8. Two thoughts: I don't wear underwear in yoga class. Is that gross? And, I bought almost all of my cute yoga tops and bottoms at Target. Not spendy at all. (I made a lot of the other ones. You're pretty crafty, so maybe you could make your own?)

    Hillary: It's called a queef. It usually happens when you come down from an inversion and you contract your abdominals. Happened to me once (it was embarassingly loud) but after a quick glance around the room, it appeared that no one acknowledged that it happened. WHEW!

  9. hah i can totally relate. on my baseball team i was the one in left field who couldn't throw or catch. so when the ball would come to me, i'd drop it, and then chase it around the field, kicking it and tripping over it. then when i finally got it in my sweaty hand, the batter was already at like third base, and i'd try to throw it in to save the day but the ball would only go like half way to the third-base person, and then it would roll to them but too slow and we'd lose the game and they'd all hate me and it was so terrible
    one time (years ago back when it was cool) i was in a pilates class, and we did something sorta downward dog like and all i could hear was these two ladies behind me laughing. one of them was like "well...she's wearing a thong"
    she was me
    i never went back. too embarassed
    so...yeah i totally know where you're coming from. haha

  10. Queefs? Is it TMI Thursday over here?

  11. I do a ton of hot yoga which is yoga with a lot of sweating. I love it. I find that as a runner, it satisfies my need to sweat and it's challenging, but not super Zen like and calming. And you stand in the back and go mostly unnoticed. I'd recommend it for post baby weight loss, since you burn like 1300 calories each class. And as for hand eye coordination, etc, i'm just like you. I hate step classes and I'm not anything close to coordinated.

    That's my experience with yoga, but i've also done the hippy dippy trippy kind with music, and i like this much better. The music is distracting and I can't ever find my thrid eye or get all not fidgety in Savasana. Which is why I like hot yoga. It's like yoga for athletes. The longest time you have to be still is like 20 seconds. Which I can handle.

  12. also, i totally started writing my comment before the queefing discussion. And i have totally had this happen to me in class. And my best friend was right next to me and could not stop laughing about it. Which of course made me laugh. Which caused more air to try to escape from my groin area. All in all, hilarious. And mortifying.

  13. Yoga is on my list of 'must tries' this year, but I wonder how much mental preparation it'll take to do so, as much like you, I think about everything ALL THE TIME.

    Also, I must admit, I'm a sucker for the outfits, LOL.

  14. I am also scared of trying yoga! Good to know it's not just me!

  15. HKW - Great idea! You know, my friend Amanda just this second, in response to this post and your suggestion, sent me a link to free online pre-natal yoga instruction. That would totally be a safe (no strangers!) way to practice, until I'm a little more comfortable!

    Jo - No, not gross. I only wear underwear with the workout clothes that need it. Or if it seems like the pants are going to rub and bother me.

    And there was a woman in my sorority in college who could make herself queef on demand. She wasn't my favorite person in the first place, and it's a word I have hated since then.

    sour - Yes! THAT is exactly how I was with sports. I hated it so much.

    As for the women behind you - so stupid of them. Who doesn't wear thongs, you know?

    LiLu - I didn't start with the queef business!

    Sarah - I like the idea of hot, sweaty, super workout version of yoga. I am terrible at being still. And I know nothing about my third eye...I would totally try this post-bebe.

    As for the queefing...if I'd been your friend next to you, I'd have started laughing really hard as well. It's terrible in those situations, because the harder you try NOT to laugh, the harder you laugh.

    browneyedgirlie - I know! How does one not think about everything all the time? How how how?

    And the clothing is pretty great. Lululemon clothing is really, really cute. I'd have bought some just because, but I do think it's overpriced.

    Beach Bum - I do think it's hugely intimidating. It just seems cooler than I am.

  16. It's totally been on my mind to tell you to take a prenatal yoga or some such type activity. All the other mothers that I didn't know before pregnancy, I made friends with in my prenatal yoga class. There was time to get to know each other and bond if we wanted to before the distraction of children got in the way. Also, natural bonus, their kids were very close in age to mine.

    I think you may be surprised to like yoga, it's more solo than you realize. Every word in the first part of your post regarding the hellish confusion of team sports and discombobulated stress of aerobics right through the solitary satisfaction of running, resonated with me and I really like yoga. You don't have to be in sync with everyone else at all, well, maybe do the same pose, but totally in your own way and according to your own ability. Everybody else is totally busy focusing on doing the pose themselves. Definitely give the prenatal version a try, many of the other preggos are trying it for the first time too. Also, you learn techniques specifically for coping more calmly with labor.

    Sorry so long. Love ya!

  17. "I have some mental gearing up to do" or, perhaps, better yet for yoga, some mental gearing down.

    Now I'll be the only person in D.C. who's never done yoga. Bwahahaha. I'm speeecuuulll.

    But we already knew that.

  18. I have a prenatal yoga DVD at home, but it's just so over the top touchy feely (there's chanting involved... eeek!) that I've only done it once. I have done, and really like, regular non-chanting yoga though. So if you find a good class, hook fellow preggie girl up!

  19. I read the beginning of your post and thought hey, that's me! Other than the running bit - had to give that up and switch to cycling when the knees started to complain about the impact of running. But yoga - definitely awesome. And if you're feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable, you're probably in the wrong yoga for you - keep looking, there are about a billion of them. And give the less type-A yogas a try - you might find it feels good as a complement to the running and weight lifting. I practice Anusara - heavy focus on alignment, which is great if you have issues like back pain, tight muscles from running, etc. - but also light-hearted and fun, and very accepting of differences. And the classes are never exactly the same, so people like me who get bored with repetition or can't follow rules too closely can enjoy themselves...

  20. I do yoga and love it. I'm in a more advanced class now, but I remember having those fears when I first started. Sign up for a beginner class and most everyone else will be in the same position as you.

    Also, if you keep going to the same class, you will notice the patterns of what the teacher does, so you won't get lost.

    This may just be me also, but if it makes you feel better physically, who really cares if you look silly doing it? (And, everyone else in the class will be too busy looking silly themselves to notice you.)

    Good luck. :-)

  21. I do love yoga. But I started out with the dvds in my own living room before I made the stretch to a class. Mostly because I am not flexible and did not want to make an arse of myself. Perhaps you could try that. I hear massage works wonders too.

  22. Oh Lisa,
    Please don't quiet your mind! That jumbled up mess in your head is the best part of you! It's what makes me love you and your blog! I think doing yoga at home is a great idea. iTunes has free video podcasts, YouTube must have a few too. And I'm betting that Amazon has a ton of DVDs. That way, you don't have to leave the comfort of your rubber room, Hope your back stays well.
    Love from North Dakota,

  23. Maybe a prenatal yoga class would have other newbies in it, so you would be in good company. Also, even women who have been doing yoga find they can't do things once they're pregnant.
    Yoga may also help your delivery. I wanted to run and kiss my yoga teacher after delivering Lucy.
    And I hate to be this person, but I'd go to a class instead of doing it at home with a video - especially if you've never done yoga before. This is NOT the time to go hurting yourself and there's definitely yoga stuff you're not supposed to do when you're pregnant. End rant.

  24. I've always been the same as you when it comes to group sports v solitary sports, but I really enjoyed yoga. If you can't quiet your mind, just focus on doing the exercises and letting your thoughts roam. If you're there for your back and body and not so much your body and mind, that's totally okay. Take from it what you want, and don't worry about anyone else. If your mind wanders to "what's for dinner" but your back feels better, I'd say you've done well!

  25. I'm sorry - I don't know anything about yoga either. But I really am glad that you are feeling better!

  26. I'm finding that the combination of yoga and swimming (obviously not both at once!) are helping with all those twingey pregnancy owies.

  27. I have never been good at sports either, but really needed something for those weird twinges and pinges that come with being 13 weeks along. And I've never even heard of Down Dog before. When I went -- no one else did either! The instructor for the class took all beginners so none of us had to worry. And the underwear thing ... totally know what you're talking about! Ugh! Where can I get some that really fit and don't ... dance to their own tune?

  28. Timely that I have run across your blog for the first time today--particularly this post. I skipped my final belly dancing class tonight because the instructor couldn't leave well enough alone and just teach us a bunch of moves and make it into a fun workout...NO. She had to start choreographing a routine that we all had to do TOGETHER IN TIME! I just made things up when it got going too fast and then threw in some exaggerated hiphop moves and a lot of shaking my ass to make that skirt do some mean jingling! What is the point in showing up for the last class? She was probably going to bring in a bunch of her belly dancing friends to watch our little "show"!

    Canadian Queen


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